The purpose of the plot

March 26, 2024

Matthew 26:1–5 (ESV)

When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”

Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.

It wasn’t like He was holding back. In fact He was being more specific than He has ever been. Two days. That’s how long they have until the whole world will seemingly fall apart. Two days until the bottom falls out and life as they know it comes to a screeching halt. Two days until an ending that has been written since the beginning of time. He wasn’t being coy. He wasn’t telling stories. He was speaking plain as day. And yet, it’s as if they couldn’t hear Him – or maybe more aptly, they wouldn’t. 

Just a few miles away, in a palace built for the the pious, the priests gather together, playing the part that has been written for them all along. Jesus, is too popular. His teaching and His miracles have made Him the talk of the literal town, and if He is left to walk amongst them unchecked, soon He will be unstoppable. It’s a tale as old as time. He is a threat – to everything. A threat to their power, to their way of life, to the control they have over those they are supposed to serve. If He is who He claims to be, the need for their services will be gone, and perhaps worse, they will be exposed as the fallen frauds they have always been. 

And so, He must go. 

Seeing as it will be Passover, it cannot be them. They cannot “get their hands dirty.” There are rules against these kinds of things, and who would they be if they didn’t follow the rules. Rules are, after all, what sets them apart and keeps them holy. There can be no blood on their hands, or contamination in their corner. Everything from the book, by the book, and for the sanctity of, the book. 

And so, they pattern a plot. 

One of His own will betray Him. A modest amount will probably convince them. A small price to pay to rid themselves of an enemy so immense. They will hold Him until they can convince Pilate that He is a threat to not only them, but to the governor’s rule and reign as well. Once He is convinced, they will leverage their leadership to coerce the crowd into demanding He be convicted. Accused of blasphemy, a crime against Israel, but convicted of nothing, and put death by Rome, the Hebrews real opposition. Jesus will be put to killed on a cross, like a common criminal, and thrown in a mass grave. 

Gone and forgotten. That is their plan. This is the plot. 

And so, in two separate spaces, mere miles apart. The man against whom the plan has been formed and the men who are forming it, both speak unknowingly and in ways prophetically, about the same shocking things. One to warn His followers in vain about the inevitable end – and the others in an attempt to keep the control that they’ve never really had. 

In two days – one plot – that was always the plan – to serve the purest and most permanent of purposes

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